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Alice Phoebe Lou

Paper Castles

Review by Gary Hill

Let's get one thing out of the way immediately, this is not progressive rock in the traditional sense. It is clearly art rock, though. It has a lot in common with the sound of Bjork. This music paints a tapestry that's informed by things from jazz to folk, psychedelia and more. It's trippy, creative music that's unique. As strange as it is, somehow it's also deeply compelling and infectious. It's also well worth a spin. You'll discover something unique if you give it the chance.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Little Spark
Gentle, rather experimental sounding, elements begin this. As the vocals join they bring an artsy kind of dreamy quality to the piece. The arrangement fills out later, but maintains that trippy sort of vibe. There is something here at times that feels like theremin. It drops way back down to end.
Nostalgia
While the same trippy almost psychedelic element is on display here, this has some old school rock and roll built into it, too. There are hints of jazz, too. I don't have a lyric sheet, and I am not positive of all the words, but I'm pretty sure this earns a parental advisory. This is strange, but oddly compelling, too.
Galaxies
I love the sort of jazzy, dream music element of this cut. There is a spacey sort of thing at play. This grows outward and gets into some of the most purely prog stuff here further down the road. The tune is one of the highlights of the set despite (or perhaps because of) the strangeness of it.
Paper Castles
Jazzy psychedelia permeates the arrangement on this number. This is another cool slab of the experimental sound we've come to expect.
Fynbos
This isn't a big change, but rather another slice of trippy experimental music. Like a lot of the sounds here, this is accessible in a strange way.
Something Holy
While this starts mellow, when it powers up a lot more of that jazz texture is heard. The cut has a number of flavors and textures.
Skin Crawl
I like the rock vibe on this cut. There are hints of old school rock and roll, but there is also a lot of mellower shoegaze type sounds. This earns a parental advisory. It has some angry lyrics, but wouldn't you expect that of a song with that title?
My Outside
This has more of a mainstream pop rock element at its core. That said, it's still exploratory and off-center from what most would consider pop music.
New Song
Starting nearly acapella, this works outward from there with a jazzy kind of trippy element. It's another cool tune.
Ocean
A mellower sound opens this. The cut grows gradually and takes on some almost symphonic elements as it moves forward. It's still built around the same kind of trippy experimental quality, but it has reference points to more symphonic prog. I could see this being called "folk prog." I really love some of the textures and sounds created as this arrangement fills out further down the musical road.
 
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